Here are a few things you can do over the summer to prepare for AP Chemistry:
Learn about the class and the exam.
- Make sure that you know the basics before your first day!
Start practicing your mental math.
- If you didn't already know, you can't use a calculator on the multiple choice section of the exam.
- This means if you struggle with doing the four basic operations in your head (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division), you should start sharpening those skills over the summer.
Memorize solubility rules.
- Don't worry about knowing all of them, though.
- The most recent course and exam description states that you only need to know about how sodium, potassium, ammonium, and nitrate salts are soluble in water.
- They literally spell out SPAN (or NAPS...or PANS...or SNAP), so there are plenty of ways to memorize them.
Be familiar with common polyatomic ions.
- Some you should know are ammonium, acetate, nitrite, nitrate, sulfite, and sulfate, just to name a few.
- Find a list of them and start to recognize their formulas, but don't worry too much about memorizing all of them - they'll be ingrained in your head after a few months.
- A common trick is memorizing the -ates and then adding or subtracting oxygens to find the -ites, per-ates, and hypo-ites. For example:
Hypochlorite - ClO | -1 charge
Chlorite - ClO2 | -1 charge
Chlorate - ClO3 | -1 charge
Perchlorate - ClO4 | -1 charge
Review basic concepts.
- If you've already taken a chemistry class, it's a good idea to spend time going over things like dimensional analysis, significant figures, or naming ionic and covalent compounds.
- If this is your first chemistry class, consider learning these ideas to make your first few weeks of AP Chemistry a little easier.
Finally, don't stress out!
- You don't have to overwhelm yourself over the summer.
- If you want to get a head start and go through the first few chapters of a chemistry textbook, awesome! You'll be extra prepared for class, and the first few weeks will be a breeze.
- But as difficult as AP Chemistry seems, you can still understand the material by learning it in class and asking questions as you go along. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide what kind of preparation you need this summer.